Students who are interested in adding a dimension to their critical thinking and business design skills will be interested in this course during which they will examine fundamental skill sets that can accelerate their ability to diagnose and manage complex business issues. General managers and strategy consultants use system-thinking skills to examine the interconnectedness of business processes and policy structures and to judge how a change in any one area might affect the performance of an entire system over time. Students will learn a new approach to communicating with others and benefit from learning to utilize a system-design approach for facilitating discussions aimed at developing new mental models of complex business systems. During the course, students will utilize business simulations to design new managerial policies aimed at improving performance and testing alternative business scenarios. The course is highly participatory, relying on workshops, simulations, and interaction with classmates and guest speakers to complement readings, cases, and exercises. Throughout the course, special emphasis is placed on the ability to communicate with others to build a shared understanding of business processes, decisions, and business performance insights. Systems Design and Business Dynamics I may be elected without continuing on to Systems Design and Business Dynamics II, but part I is a prerequisite for part II.


Academic course objectives:


·         Use systems analysis techniques and simulations to isolate and describe the often intangible factors that affect the performance dynamics of a business

·         Explore the competitive structure of an entity’s operating structures and information flows, in addition to those of its customers, competitors, and suppliers

·         Assess and quantify the behavior of a complete system by identifying the critical variables, constraints, and policy decisions that reinforce business growth or performance decline

·         Utilize archetypes to identify common business-mode failures and explore the applications of strategic mapping techniques across many industries and job functions

·         Practice how to create desirable business dynamics by acting upon the system at specific points of leverage


Elements of the course grade:


Preparation exercises                                       10%

Class participation                                           45%

Final assignment and individual paper           45%


Web address for additional course information:

Systems Design and Business Dynamics I